Russell, Ontario

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This article is about the township. For the village sharing the same name, see Russell, Ontario (community).
Township (lower-tier)
Township of Russell
Motto: Pax et prosperitas
Map of Russell Township
Map of Russell Township
Russell is located in Southern Ontario
Map of Russell Township
Coordinates: 45°15′25″N 75°21′30″W / 45.25694°N 75.35833°W / 45.25694; -75.35833Coordinates: 45°15′25″N 75°21′30″W / 45.25694°N 75.35833°W / 45.25694; -75.35833
Country  Canada
Province  Ontario
County Prescott and Russell
 • Mayor Vacant[1][2]
 • Council
 • Total 199.06 km2 (76.86 sq mi)
Elevation 60 m (200 ft)
Population (2011 Census)[4]
 • Total 15,247 (township)
 • Density 76.6/km2 (198/sq mi)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Postal Code K0A1W0 & K0A1W1 (eastern portion), K4R (western portion)
Area code(s) 613

The Township of Russell is a municipal township, located south-east of Canada's capital of Ottawa in eastern Ontario, in the United Counties of Prescott and Russell, on the Castor River. Russell Township is located within Canada's National Capital Region.

The township had a population of 15,247 in the Canada 2011 Census.


The primary communities are Embrun and Russell.

Smaller communities listed in the official Ontario place names database are Felton, Forget, Marionville, North Russell and Pana. Both the municipal government and Canada Post consider Brisson and Forget to be part of Embrun, and Felton, North Russell, and Pana as part of Russell. Canada Post also considers Marionville to be part of Russell, although the municipality considers Marionville to be separate. It should be noted that, as Marionville is on the border of the township, parts of it fall into the neighbouring jurisdictions of North Dundas Township and the City of Ottawa.


According to the Canada 2011 Census [5]

  • Population: 15,247
    • Urban: 10,139
      • Embrun: 6,380
      • Russell: 3,759
    • Rural: 5,108
  •  % Change (2006–2011): 9.8
  • Dwellings: 5,345
  • Area (km²): 199.06
  • Density (persons per km²): 76.6


The township is predominantly English-speaking with a significant French-speaking minority. 60% of the population speaks English most often at home, while 38% speaks French most often at home.[5] The remaining 2% speak either both languages equally, or speak a different language most often. The different parts of the township have different distributions of language, however. Embrun is more strongly francophone, with 54% French-speaking and 43% English-speaking.[6] Russell, on the other hand, has a stronger anglophone majority, with 88% English-speaking and 10% French-speaking.[7]

In terms of mother tongue, however, the statistics differ. Because it is more common for Francophone Canadians to switch to using English as their main language later in life, than it is for Anglophone Canadians to switch to French, the percentage of the population that has French as a mother tongue is higher than the percentage of the population that uses French as their main language at home. With the mother tongue statistic, the township is 50% anglophone and 45% francophone.[5] In Embrun, 60% have French mother tongue and 35% have English mother tongue.[6] In Russell, 77% have English mother tongue and 18% have French mother tongue.[7]

The most commonly spoken minority languages in the township are Dutch, German, and Arabic. 235 people across the township have one of these three languages as their mother tongue.

Language spoken most often at home Entire township (number) Entire township (percentage) Embrun (number)[6] Embrun (percentage) Russell (number)[7] Russell (percentage)
English 9,020 59.5% 2,735 43.4% 3,315 88.2%
French 5,800 38.2% 3,405 54.0% 390 10.4%
English and French equally 210 1.4% 110 1.7% 30 0.8%
Other 130 0.9% 55 0.9% 25 0.7%
Mother tongue language Entire township (number)[5] Entire township (percentage) Embrun (number)[6] Embrun (percentage) Russell (number)[7] Russell (percentage)
English 7,595 50.0% 2,210 35.1% 2,890 76.9%
French 6,800 44.8% 3,800 60.3% 690 18.4%
English and French equally 180 1.3% 75 1.3% 20 0.5%
Dutch 100 0.7% 15 0.2% 5 0.1%
German 100 0.7% 10 0.2% 0 0.0%
Arabic 35 0.2% 10 0.2% 0 0.0%

Ethnocultural ancestries[edit]

The township's population is 96% white, 2.0% Aboriginal, 0.8% Black, 0.6% Arab, and 0.6% other visible minority.[8]

The main ethnic ancestries among the white population are French, English, Irish, Scottish, German, and Dutch.

In data:

Single responses: 27.2% of respondents gave a single response of 'Canadian', while a further 23.6% identified with both 'Canadian', and one or more other ancestries. 9.7% of respondents gave a single response of French, 3.5% gave a single response of English, 3.1% gave a single response of Dutch, and 2.5% gave a single response of Irish.

Multiple responses: Counting both single and multiple responses, the most commonly identified ethnocultural ancestries were:

Canadian 50.8%
French 34.9%
English 20.1%
Irish 18.0%
Scottish 13.7%
German 7.6%
Dutch 5.2%
North American Indian 3.1%
Italian 2.0%

Percentages are calculated as a proportion of the total number of respondents and may total more than 100% due to dual responses.
All ethnocultural ancestries of more than 2% are listed in the table above according to the exact terminology used by Statistics Canada.


The Township of Russell, Ontario was named in honour of Peter Russell who came to Canada with John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada. Russell was a general accountant of the public funds of the new province. He was elected a member of the executive and legislative council in 1792 and when Simcoe returned to England in 1796, he appointed Russell as administrator of the existing government, a position he held until Simcoe's successor arrived in Canada in 1799. Russell remained in Canada, dying in York (Toronto) in 1808. At one time the township was named Elmsley, it was officially named Russell in 1797.

The Great Fire in Russell[edit]

On June 6, 1915, fire started in Murray's Tinsmith Shop and quickly spread from building to building in Russell. Many residents tried to put out the fire with buckets of water, but it was evident they needed more help. Calls were made to the Ottawa Fire Department who came running faster than ever on the New York Central Railway. They say it was the fastest a train ever went on that track. A total of twenty-five buildings were destroyed. The old land registry building lost its roof in the fire but all the records were saved. The oldest records of the building go back to 1852. The building is still standing today.

The New York Central Railway[edit]

The New York Central Railway was an essential part of Russell's development. In 1884, the Township's council knew that they needed transportation if they wanted the community to grow. There were a few train stations in the surrounding towns like South Indian (today Limoges), Osgood and Morewood, but to get there they needed to pay extra fare to take a stage. In June 1897, the council passed a by-law to raise 10,000$ to aid the Ontario Pacific Railway Company to build the railway. In exchange, the railway company had to have at least two passenger trains that would stop for all the passengers each way at all the stations including Russell. The Ontario Pacific Railway Company changed its name to The Ottawa and New York Railway Company in 1898 then the line was leased to the New York Central Railway Company. With the building of the station, Russell Village became the commercial centre for the Township and also for the eastern part of Osgoode and the northern part of Winchester. The hotels were filled with travellers and settlers, new shops were opening and loads of farm animals passed though the stockyards. It became a livestock sales centre. Around 1940 the passenger traffic began diminishing, people had their own cars. In 1954 the passenger train service to Russell was abandoned. On February 14, 1957, the last train ran on the New York Central System.

Organisations then and now[edit]

The Russell Agricultural Society[edit]

The Russell Agricultural Society remains a vital community resource. According to the legislatures Journals, the Agricultural Society for the County of Russell began as an offshoot of the Agricultural Society for the District of Ottawa in 1845. Funds were set aside to judge crops. Records are scant till the first Russell Fair was chartered in 1858. The organization’s mandate to promote agricultural heritage and the rural lifestyle is still strongly supported today (2014) with the Russell Fair traditionally held each year in September, on the first weekend after Labour Day. The community grounds are also used to celebrate other events such as Canada Day.

The Russell and District Horticultural Society[edit]

The Russell and District Horticultural Society brought neighbors together then and now. It began with the need for a community spring clean up in 1918. By January 1919 the Society was officially organized to encourage the care of lawns and shrubs and the growing of flowers and trees. Today the group has become dedicated to horticultural education and protection of the natural environment, as it continues to encourage the beautification of the community.

The Russell Lions Club[edit]

The Russell Lions Club grew from a need to fund the non-governmental needs of society. In 1947 the Ottawa Central Lions Club presented a charter to form a Lions Club in Russell. The first activity of the club was to sponsor the Russell Students Band, which then became the Russell Lions Band. The club has continued to grow, holding community dances and fundraisers to provide assistance for the less fortunate in the community. Thanks to the support of the community, the Lions Club of Russell continues today (2014) to contribute effective community service.

The Russell Historical Society and the Keith M. Boyd Museum[edit]

The Russell Historical Society and the Keith M. Boyd Museum preserve rural heritage. With the museum bearing his name, Mr. Boyd was an avid collector of historical artifacts and enjoyed sharing his knowledge with area residents through his articles in the Russell Villager. Donations from others wishing to preserve local history caused his collection to expand, requiring a home of its own. The old Baptist Church became the Museum and was officially named after Mr. Boyd and opened in 1989. The Russell Historical Society maintains the buildings and the collections they house.[10]



Township Council[edit]

The current council of Russell Township was elected on October 27, 2014 in the 2014 municipal elections. In December 2014, a mayor was elected as part of a by-election due to the death of incumbent Jean-Paul Saint-Pierre:

  • Mayor: Pierre Leroux
  • Councillors: André Brisson, Jamie Laurin, Cindy Saucier and Amanda Simard.

The municipal offices are located in Embrun at 717 Notre-Dame St.

Federal and provincial representation[edit]

The township is located within the federal electoral district of Glengarry—Prescott—Russell. It is represented by Pierre Lemieux (Conservative). The provincial electoral district, also named Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, is represented by Grant Crack (Liberal).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Following the death of Jean-Paul Saint-Pierre on Saturday October 18 at the age of 65.
  2. ^ Jean-Paul St-Pierre, le maire sortant du Canton de Russell, meurt subitement in (French)
  3. ^ Industry Canada (2006). "Broadband Canada". Broadband Canada, Industry Canada. Archived from the original on January 7, 2005. Retrieved 2006-08-29. 
  4. ^ Statistics Canada
  5. ^ a b c d 2011 Community Profiles
  6. ^ a b c d Statistics Canada (2011). "Census Profile - Population Centre (Embrun)". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2012-12-13. 
  7. ^ a b c d Statistics Canada (2011). "Census Profile - Population Centre (Russell)". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 2012-12-13. 
  8. ^ "Russell, Ontario (Township)". 2006 Community Profiles. Statistics Canada. 2007-11-20. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  9. ^ "Russell, TP". Ethnic Origin (247), Generation Status (4), Single and Multiple Ethnic Origin Responses (3) and Sex (3) for the Population 15 Years and Over of Canada, Provinces, Territories, Census Divisions and Census Subdivisions, 2006 Census - 20% Sample Data. Statistics Canada. 2007-11-20. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  10. ^ Stanley, Wendell, From Swamp and Shanty, Ottawa Ontario, The Runge Press Limited, 1987
  11. ^ "Russell". Canadian Climate Normals 1981–2010 (in English and French). Environment Canada. Retrieved September 12, 2015. 

External links[edit]